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SÃO PAULO – A few weeks after it was revealed that he was gay, a Brazilian Catholic singer’s appearance at a Catholic music festival was canceled.
Since 2012, Bruno Camurati has sung several times at the Halleluya Festival, a series of concerts organized by the Brazilian Catholic community Shalom, which is part of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) movement.
Camurati said that no reason was given by the promoters for canceling his performance, scheduled for July 23. It had already been announced, and his fans were waiting to attend.
“As soon as I made my online declaration [to be homosexual], they excluded me without any clarification. Officially, they did not mention anything. But we can imagine which were their reasons,” he told Crux.
Several internet users made comments on the festival’s social media accounts, many of them pointedly. He had to ask his fans to have “respect, love, and kindness” and repudiated the “generalized anger.”
“I already imagined that this could happen. Other concerts were also canceled, that was not the only one,” he said.
A member of the Legionaries of Christ in his younger days, Camurati left the group in 2005 when he was 24 and began to sing in parishes.
“I understood that was my apostolate. I also began to work with theater. Since then, I had mostly a parish experience as a Catholic. And I performed in numerous parishes too,” he said.
As a singer and composer, Camurati has recorded four albums and gained a following by creating intimate moments of reflection in music. A number of his compositions ended up becoming famous among Catholics and his Canção de Pedro (Peter’s song) has more than one million views on YouTube.
He has never been close to the CCR movement, but often performs at their festivals.
“I am not a ‘charismatic’ or ‘gospel’ singer. But most Catholic artists in Brazil end up near the CCR, because ‘Catholic music’ and ‘CCR’ are almost synonymous here,” he explained. Despite the differences in style and in religious views, many CCR adherents became fans of Camurati.
But most of the supporters he attracted over the years are not conservative Catholics, he said, and that is why he decided it was the moment to talk about his sexuality.
“I have always worked with human themes like acceptance, mercy, welcoming – and also hypocrisy, phariseeism, vanity. I saw that the people understood my work and that I had to deal with that issue,” he said.
The revelation itself had not generated much reaction. It came soon after CCR singer Gil Monteiro also came out of the closet.
However, when the Halleluya Festival canceled his appearance, Camurati said “it became a story of retaliation and many people felt outraged.”
Jesuit Father Bruno Franguelli, a noted human rights activist in Brazil, said he was outraged to know about the cancellation of concerts and reminded his followers of “Pope Francis’s condemnation of the diabolical throw-away culture and discrimination.”
“The pope is very clear when he demands the respect and welcoming of homosexual people by their families and the church,” he added in a social media post.
He recalled that the church has historically benefited from the works of art produced by same-sex-attracted people, naming artist Leonardo da Vinci.
“I am not saying that to create a controversy. Those examples help us to affirm that the church commissioned those artists to leave their marks in precious places for Christianity,” he said.
“Bruno, in this sense, is an artist who produces beauty, a beauty in which are combined humanity, faith, and art,” Franguelli said.
“I know Bruno for quite a while, and he is a superb singer-songwriter. He is also a man of faith whose songs transpire his experience with God. Canção de Pedro is sung even during presbyteral ordinations,” the priest told Crux.
Camurati has also received support from the National Network of LGBT Catholic Groups.
The group’s coordinator Luís Rabello said they have been in touch both with him and Monteiro, and said that the singers intend to keep doing the same work they always did.
“They ended up gaining more fame with all that. And they do not fear to receive less invitations to perform. If some doors are being shut, other are being opened for them,” Rabello told Crux.
Camurati said he believes that Pope Francis has been changing the reality of many people who were distant from the church “by opening the doors for everybody.”
“That is the message of the Gospel which I want to keep spreading to everybody. Many people felt touched by my work and my testimony,” he said.